Koreas to showcase joint taekwondo performance in Switzerland in April

epa06641605 Members of South Korean taekwondo demonstration team perform at the Pyongyang Grand Theatre in Pyongyang, North Korea, 02 April 2018.  A 120-member troupe of South Korean performers stages two performances in North Korea on 01 April and 03 April 2018, the first such event since 2005.  EPA/KOREA / POOL

Taekwondo practitioners from South and North Korea will stage a joint performance next month in Switzerland to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Korean traditional martial art becoming an Olympic sport, officials here said Wednesday. World Taekwondo (WT) said that, with support from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), there will be a joint taekwondo demonstration performance with the International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland, on April 11. Taekwondo is now separated by the WT and ITF styles, both of which have the same roots. The WT, headquartered in Seoul, is currently the official international taekwondo governing body as recognized by the IOC. The North Korean-led ITF has a different set of rules than the WT. Taekwondo became an Olympic sport at the IOC Congress in Paris in 1994.


The upcoming event was agreed upon between the WT and the ITF when WT’s South Korean chief Choue Chung-won visited Pyongyang in late October 2018 and signed an accord with ITF President Ri Yong-son that calls for forming a joint organization to integrate taekwondo.


In December 2018, when the two sides met for a working-level talks in Wuxi, China, to implement the agreement made in Pyongyang, Choue again proposed the joint taekwondo performance and received confirmation from Ri. Prior to that meeting, Choue met with IOC head Thomas Bach in Tokyo and explained the two taekwondo bodies’ plan. The event in Lausanne will be the first WT-ITF joint taekwondo performance in five months.


Before showcasing taekwondo moves at the Olympic Museum, the two taekwondo bodies said they will kick off their European tour in Vienna, Austria, where the ITF headquarter is located, on April 5. WT said the Vienna performance was proposed by ITF’s Ri. The WT-ITF demonstration team performed together two times in Seoul, where WT is based, in February 2018, but this will be the first time that the two sides will stage the performance in Vienna. After the Olympic Museum performance in Lausanne, the demonstration team will move to Geneva and will showcase the taekwondo moves at the United Nations Office on April 12, according to the WT.


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